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Advice for a mostly vegetarian

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:00 am
by anandsr21
I am working on a fat loss program. I found out that increasing muscles is important for losing fat. I calculated my requirement to be 2700KCal, which was actually more than what I was having in normal food. I was obviously adding too much of junk over it. So I have minimized any overly fried stuff, and sweets. I cannot have meat more than once a week when I am lucky ;-), as my wife is vegetarian. Eating outside is not good because its mostly fat laden.

I am not going with protein powders because I am not trying to bulk up just doing weight training to allow my body enough nutrition to not lose muscle mass and hopefully get it better than before.

The milk we have is buffalo milk which is high in fat and low in protein. Almost half the fat is removed with cream. So the final percentage should be 3%fat + 12%carb + 3.5% protein.

I exercise early in the morning as my evenings are not fixed.

1) 100gm reduced fat yogurt with a teaspoon of organic jam after waking up.

2) 30-45 minutes of exercise, alternate days. (30minutes after the wakeup snack).

3) 2 egg whites + 100ml milk with honey. (after exercise on exercise days).

4) 3 wholewheat breads (100gm) + 2 egg yolk + jam on exercise days.
3 wholewheat breads + peanut butter/cheese(15gm) or ham slice (50gm) on most other days. Sometimes it will be something ethnic ;-).

5) 12:00, 3:00 and 6:00 oclock meals are identical. I bring something to the office and split it in 3 parts. It varies a lot, but normally it consists of 1 wholewheate flat bread(35gm) + pulses (35gm) + cooked vegetable (35 gm) + fruits (60gm).

6) Dinner 2 whole wheat flat breads or white rice (70gm) + pulses(50gm) + cooked vegetable(50gm). The vegetable and pulses are mostly different here compared to the lunch.

protein - 7+13+12+12+24+8+12=88gm = 353kcal
carb - 5+12+12+5+72+15+72+60+ 10 + 50 + 30 + 10 = 353 = 1412kcal
fat - 3 + 13+ 3 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 15 + 1 + 1 + 10 = 52gm = 468kcal

2232 Kcal.
The percentages are
Carb 63%
protein 16%
fat 21%.

I guess I could increase protein and fat, but the option is only in eggs. All other vegetarian foods are higher in carbs than protein.

There are a few more variations that happen. sometimes I will miss the 3rd installment of the day meals. But I don't miss the fruits. Also once in a week or two I will attend a party or a get together and have a party. On these occasions I don't hold back, and would go over 1000kcal above my normal diet.


Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:49 pm
by pdellorto
I'm not sure you're going to be able to avoid protein powder. It's just food, after all, not some magical weight-adding drug (in fact, it might be the opposite - low calorie, highly nutritious, filling).

I'd look into a good quality whey protein isolate and add that post-workout or as a meal replacement when you need it. That'll give you the calories you want, lots of protein for sparing muscle (so your body doesn't burn it up as fuel), and it's not that expensive.

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:14 pm
by lightningsix
I don't think you're getting enough protein.
Pick up some type of protein powder, it really helps.
Eat some good meats, beef+chicken.

Definitely cut out the fried foods, snacks that aren't clean and remember if you're trying to lose weight to continue and lift heavy so you don't lose muscle.

Good Luck

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:38 pm
by ironmaiden708
Eat some good meats, beef+chicken.
Did you even read the title of this thread? Vegetarian

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:23 pm
by nygmen
[quote="pdellorto"]I'm not sure you're going to be able to avoid protein powder. It's just food, after all, not some magical weight-adding drug (in fact, it might be the opposite - low calorie, highly nutritious, filling).[quote]

He is right, very right. It will be the best 30-40 dollars you spend, and your wife won't get mad your eating meat.

Best of both worlds.

It may add to your WEIGHT, but shouldn't add to your FAT, all other variables being constant.

Posted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:25 pm
by Jungledoc

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:07 am
by anandsr21
I should have said that I am in India.

There is only one variety of protein powder in India currently. The GNC one, its also very expensive, as compared to lots of other things. My total food budget it 100$, and if I add the two other members in my family it doesn't go beyond 250$. So the 70$ or so of the powder is not feasible ;-).

I should go with Eggs, but my wife will freak out if I tried to increase my already increased consumption of 2 eggs. Actually India is quite warm even at this time, which means that it is not considered good. During winters I could try to convince her.

How much should I increase my protein, considering that I am not trying to bulk up much, and excess protein is not good for the system. My actual lifestyle is very sedentary. I am a software developer which involves sitting on my butt for most of my day, and then the rest of the time is spent sleeping.

So its not like I am doing much work which will require much protein.

I had skipped exercises my whole life, and then when I got fat, the lack of time did not let me do much exercise. I am not too overweight, about 200 pounds, at 5'9". I guess a 20-30 pound drop will be sufficient.

Recently I started because I am feeling the problems of excess weight and read that 45 minutes alternate day would be sufficient if using weight training. I am into this strictly for fat loss, but wouldn't mind some muscle gain.

My strength was also quite low, till I started exercising. I am now OK after about 3 months of slow increase using body weight exercises. I started weight training only couple weeks back.

My current exercise regime is
5 minutes of jogging.
followed by specific warm up.
Exercises are (decided on these after reading ExRx)
1) Pushups (I still can't execute more than 3 properly).
2) Squats with 9Kg in each hand.
3) Bent over rows with 9Kg.
4) Simulating clean and press with dumbbells.
5) Crunch (simple ones, I am still not doing very well, but better than at the beginning).

I have to get some more weights, as I can feel that I can use heavier weights for situps, and very soon for other exercises as well.

The exercise is all the activity that I do.

I have already dropped around 6 Kgs, over the 3 months. The first 4 were done two months back, and now in the last two weeks I have dropped the next 2 Kgs. So I can see that it is helping. I guess 10 Kgs more would be the max I should drop. I will be testing my Body fat % as given in the site soon.

How much minimum protein should I have per day? Am I below the required level. I think I have enough budget in my fat to add some more dry fruits.

I have dropped almost all fried foods. I don't share beyond the tasting when fried things are made in home, or brought in office, except on one day in a week, which I use as an overeating day.


Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:31 am
by tyler
Hmm...I'm not going to try to correct anything u mentioned here except for one thing, cause I think plenty of people will be giving you advice after your last post. I am 6 ft and me at 180 lbs still has a little bit of fat on the if ur going for a lean look, you'll probably have to go even under 170. Cause that's when I'm sure my bodyfat will be pretty low. Especially since it sounds like hardly any of the weight is muscle either...but I guess if you're not worried as much about asthetics (spelling?), then maybe 170 should be good.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:04 am
by anandsr21
Well I was expecting 77Kgs would be good for my height and build. I am planning to get body fat down to 10%. I will go down to whatever weight is required for that BF.

I understand that protein is a problem in a vegetarian diet. From the protein debate it seems to me that 90gm of protein may not be too bad, when coupled with exercises to reduce muscle loss.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:29 am
by pdellorto
I wouldn't worry about the negative effects of too much protein on your body. That's come up here before, and the consensus seems to be - "what negative effects?" Don't think of protein as something you add to get more muscle. You need it both to grow muscle and retain muscle. If you want to lose weight without losing muscle you can't cut down protein intake very far. 1gm per kg of bodyweight is probably a minimum...ironmaiden and the other guys here can point you to more specific recommendations. I know I don't do very well on less than 2gm per kg or so.

The question you'll need to answer before we can help much is, what protein sources can you get in India? 2 eggs a day is all of 10-12 grams of protein. They are an easy add, but you need more. I know I've read that vegetarian Indian wrestlers eat copious amounts of almonds, ghee, and milk, but the protein is mostly from the milk...and all of them are high calorie. What protein sources are available to you, regardless of their carbs and fats? You may need to eat some high-fat (and thus high-calorie) protein sources and cut down on all that rice and white bread...which is also high-calorie and unlike nuts, milk, eggs, etc. isn't very nutritious.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:59 am
by TimD
What about lentils/dahl? I know it's not the bet protein source, but for a vegetable protein source it's really good, and I know that in your art of the world it's pretty abundant.. I love lentils mixed with barly, but the problem being, you'd have to eat a lot of it, and that may not be the best thing if you'e tring to loose fat.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:24 am
by stuward
Once you eliminate fish and meat from your diet, the best (g protein/calorie) sources of protein are greens, and then beans, cheese, yoghurt, mushrooms, eggs and milk and non-green vegetables. Grains and nuts are way down the list.

edit: There is a wide difference in cheese. Cottage Cheese is by far, the best source of protein among cheeses. It would probably rank higher than beans in the above list .

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:39 pm
by lightningsix
oops sorry on my advice haha

Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:05 am
by anandsr21
Thanks for all the great replies.

I am having as much dahl(lentils and other legumes) as I can sustain for long periods. But its not much 100gm of raw lentils become half a litre of dal. This I consume in three parts during the day. Sometimes I have more dal in the night.

Lentils compose of 24%protein and 60%carb, while whole wheat is 12%protein and 72%carb. So I don't see much difference between taking whole wheat with dal and white rice with dal, because rice is a lot bulkier than breads due to the very high water content, which makes it easier to have more dal with rice. Ultimately the ratio becomes similar.

The majority of cheese we have is the cottage type, which can be prepared at home, but is very easily available here. The only problem being that our milk is Buffalo milk which has trades protein with fat compared to a cow's milk.

We do eat cottage cheese (paneer) quite frequently but it will still not be more than 25gm per head per day on an average. This adds just 5 gms of protein :-(.

I do avoid whatever rice I can except for the overeating day. Rice is still present for about 3 times per week, mostly in the evening (which seems to be the worst time to have it). My wife loves it and in addition its much easier than making flat breads (roties), so it cannot be avoided much.

The good part is that most of our food is made at home, from very raw ingredients. We make our bread. We get whole milk and reduce fat content my simple boiling and keeping in the refrigerator and removing the cream. Almost half of the fat goes away that way.

Changing lifestyle is not easy, when you live in a family with very different food perceptions. I am very interested in food and can try most things. I also generally like high protein foods. My wife can also try many things, but generally high protein things are not to her liking. This includes milk, dal(lentils), and eggs. Homemaking is a lot more active job than mine and she is at a much better level of fitness than me, although her protein intake must be half that of mine. She is also a lot lighter than me.

I read the protein debate in this forum where Dr.Phillips had said that maintenance protein for a person who is not active is .8gm/kg/day. For an active person it reduces to 0.56/kg/day. I guess this all applies for sports persons, who have a lot more muscle than an obese person like myself. Which is why my wife is able to maintain it with the very limited protein consumption.

He also said that for increasing muscle mass there is a benefit with more protein consumption, but in the study no benefit was found beyond 1.4gm/kg/day. I hope I got that right.

He also said that if you use a lot more protein regularly then you have to maintain it if you don't want to lose your muscle. Since I am not really interested in the speed of muscle gain. My own concern is to lose fat, to get a BF of less than 10%, in a way that I can maintain it long term. Being a mostly vegetarian, maintaining a large protein content for the long term will be difficult for me. So it will be counterproductive to go beyond the minimum protein that will help in maintaining and going just a little above to grow the muscle to acceptable levels.

Since I am exercising with a lot less muscle mass to begin with my current protein requirements should be quite low. Even if my maintenance requirement is .8gm/kg/day. I still have a little surplus, on my daily diet. And sometimes I do get a lot more protein in the form of meats (normally once in a week), during those overeating days.

The professor said that half of the excess protein can be converted to muscle in the best case. I can see that I am having a little growth in my arms after only two weeks of training. So it should not be a totally lost case ;-).

The professor also said that he found no reason to recommend a higher than the normally prescribed 15% of protein in a diet. I guess my fat content percentage is slightly less than the prescribed 25%. I am thinking of adding nuts to increase that.

I would like to hear what others have to say. I know it is quite contrary to the general belief here, but I don't have many options. I am just hoping that Dr. Phillips is right and I can build muscle in this low protein consumption. Although its quite definite that I will not get a chiseled body. But then I am not in the dating scene.


Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:15 am
by pdellorto
I think you'll find more guys who side with Berardi than Phillips here. I'm one, for sure. Plus, I'm a low-carb eater, so keeping protein to 15% of my diet would be terrifically hard.

But it seems like you've got most of a plan's just a question of your workout making enough demands on your body to burn the fat and not burn up your muscles in the process. Hopefully some of the other guys will have more specific recommendations to help you. But you've done a lot more homework than most of the folks who post and ask. :lol: